Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Very Powerful, Very Disciplined, Incredibly Gracious Woman

For the Democratic party, the era after 1968 was filled with a continual tinkering with its primary rules. At first these re-writes (at the direction of the McGovern-Fraser Commission) sought to restrict and then eliminate candidate selections made by party bosses (in "smoke-filled rooms.") After the candidacies of George McGovern and Jimmy Carter, this drive towards more and more direct democracy in the primaries was countered by the Hunt Commission. The Hunt Commission gave the Democrats the "Superdelegates" that were all the talk of the 2008 Democratic primaries.

The Republicans have been influenced by the Dem's drift, but not so much.

Daniel Henninger describes what has happened to political parties in the U.S.:

The established political pros let the selection process come to this. Presidential candidates such as John McCain and Barack Obama have become untethered from the discipline of party institutions, largely because the parties have lost coherence. So we get celebrity candidates made famous, fundable and electable by dint of their access to the Beltway media. For voters, this election is a national Hail Mary.

For nearly two years, all the major candidates have rotated through our lives as solitary personalities attended by careerist campaign professionals. Barack, Hillary, Rudy, Mitt, Mike, McCain. When the moment arrived to pick a running mate, input from the parties was minimal. That famous party boss, Caroline Kennedy, advised Barack Obama. They picked a three-decade denizen of the Senate. John McCain's obligation was himself and his endless slog to this big chance.

Out of this process we have the current candidates. And rather than critiquing the candidate's positions and policies, the U.S. press has degenerated into name-calling and obsessing over how much money the RNC has spent on Sarah Palin's wardrobe.

Henninger ends his piece with a quote from someone who has recently worked with Sarah Palin.
Lorne Michaels, the executive producer of "Saturday Night Live," lives on the forward wave of American life. This week he gave his view of Sarah Palin to "I think Palin will continue to be underestimated for a while. I watched the way she connected with people, and she's powerful. Her politics aren't my politics. But you can see that she's a very powerful, very disciplined, incredibly gracious woman. This was her first time out and she's had a huge impact. People connect to her."
Sarah in 2012?

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